Van Helsing Returns For A Final Season And Adds Time Travel To Its Narrative Palette

Vanessa apparently still resides in the Dark Realm, but it seems clear that she’s the catalyst for Jack’s temporal journey to Dracula’s city of origin.  Of course, Jack’s experience here could turn out to be similar to Vanessa’s meeting with her grandmother Lily in season three,  but for now, we have to consider conventional time travel as the most likely scenario. Needless to say, time travel in the hands of a less skilled writer can lead to a multitude of narrative pitfalls, but with Jonathan Lloyd Walker (Continuum) at the helm, the story is in more than competent hands. Still, we have to wonder how Vanessa’s role will play out since it seems reasonable to assume that if she can send Jack to the past, she can leave the Dark Realm at any point herself. So why does she stay?

Once we learn that Count Dalibor’s wife Olivia (Tricia Helfer) may, in fact, be the genesis of the Dark One, it’s only a matter of time before she and Jack come face to face. It doesn’t take long for viewers and Jack to face the quintessential time travel dilemma: if you could go back in time and kill baby Hitler, would you? Traveling to the past to prevent an apocalyptic future has become a science fiction staple, and Jack now faces the ultimate moral decision. “Now I know why my mother sent me here.” Understanding Vanessa’s motivation is one thing, whether she can carry out this gruesome task is quite another. 

While it might be simpler to have Jack kill Olivia and prevent the 21st century evil that plagues the American northwest, other options do exist. “What if you could stop what turns her dark?” Florian (Matúš Kvietik) asks a reticent Jack. Unfortunately, the Transylvanian problem is far more complex than simply eliminating new mother Olivia. Actions have consequences, and if time travel tales tell us anything, it’s that unintended consequences generally rear their ugly heads sooner rather than later. Whether it’s the Grandfather Paradox or the Butterfly Effect, things rarely turn out the way the protagonist thinks they will.

Not surprisingly, Helfer (Battlestar Galactica; Lucifer) seamlessly transitions from the dark, ultra evil creature at the heart of the vampire threat to a loving wife and new mother who unknowingly sells her soul to Michaela and the roots of the Sisterhood. Nonetheless, the plot thickens because killing Olivia and preventing her from becoming the Dark One only takes care of one problem. What about the Sisterhood? Jack and Ivory already killed Michaela in the present, but now Jack can prevent her from creating and expanding the Sisterhood and becoming the Dark One’s bride. Does Jack have it in her to commit what will seem like multiple atrocities to the innocent bystanders who possess no knowledge of the future from which she comes?

Olivia’s role in the coming apocalypse isn’t as cut and dried as it might seem, and when Florian shows Jack the portrait of the count and countess, it’s her last name that stimulates Jack and the fateful decision she ultimately makes. Dracula. Did Vanessa actually send Jack to this point in time with the intention that her daughter could operate in the role previously ascribed to her – mankind’s savior?

Nobody said saving the human race was going to be easy, and we most certainly didn’t expect the Van Helsing storyline to end up in the middle of a Renaissance street fair, but it’s a perfect vehicle for Olivia to meet another major player on the dark side.  “I see two futures diverging,” the fortune teller (Jesse Stanley) tells Olivia, and the woman who will eventually become the Oracle, informs her that two women wish to shape her fate. “Something dark awaits you.” And Jack’s kill list grows taller by the minute.